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Revolutionary solar tunnel powers Europe’s first ‘green’ high-speed trains

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High-speed international trains linking Paris and Amsterdam set off this week powered by electricity from a ground-breaking solar tunnel.

The 2.2mile long tunnel crossing Antwerp in Belgium is fitted with 16,000 solar panels covering 50,000 square metres, roughly eight football pitches.

The panels produce 3,300 megawatts per hour of electricity, which will be enough to power 4,000 trains a year.

Green energy: The 16,000 solar panels line the tunnel in Antwerp, BelgiumGreen energy: 16,000 solar panels line the tunnel in Antwerp, Belgium

Enfinity, the U.S based company which developed the project, said it would decrease CO2 emissions by 2,400 tons per year.

‘By using electricity generated on-site, we eliminate energy losses and transport costs,’ said Steven De Tollenaere from Enfinity.

The first ‘green train’ left Antwerp on Monday for the Dutch border, filled with the usual commuters and students.

Most were unaware that for the first dozen miles or so, the train’s engines were plugged into the solar energy source fitted along the line.

The electricity produced feeds into the line’s infrastructure, for lighting, signals and in-train power points, said Frederic Sacre, spokesman for Infrabel, which runs the rail network.

The company hopes the project, which cost £12m, will be extended to the U.S. However, there are no plans to introduce the solar infrastructure in the UK as recent cuts to financial incentives have made such projects unviable.

Bart van Renerghem from Enfinity, told Sky News: ‘Apparently the UK Government is more concerned about the Treasury than the mid and long-term carbon reduction objectives that we have. Personally, I think it is short-sighted.’


Via DailyMail


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